We are often asked how best to clean a piano – and particularly the keys.

How you clean your piano depends on whether it has a French Polished or a modern finish, but for any type avoid spray-on polishes. These often contain silicone which can build up, attracting more dirt and are very difficult to remove.

Traditional pianos (French Polished) can be polished using a good quality beeswax furniture polish. This will keep it looking good and, like any piece of good quality older furniture, the build-up of a patina can enhance its beauty. Never use water, or allow spillages on French Polish.

If there are any serious stains or scratches these may need specialist treatment to restore to good condition.

For modern finishes such as Polyester or Acrylic lacquers regular dusting is recommended, but the dust may be slightly abrasive and should not be rubbed into the surface. Initially by using a feather duster, then by wiping with a very soft cotton or microfibre cloth this may be all that is needed. Any remaining finger marks can be removed with a fine spray of water or glass cleaner (the clear type, not the cream), followed immediately by gently wiping with the microfibre cloth until thoroughly dry.

A fine water spray and microfibre cloth is usually enough for modern polyester finishes.


There are countless myths about cleaning piano keys – milk, vinegar, meths are some of the popular recommendations! Avoid them all! Keys should normally be cleaned by similar methods to those of the modern casework – dusting and perhaps a little water if needed, followed immediately by thorough drying. This is normally all that’s needed, whether ivory, celluloid or modern acrylic materials. Deep stains, yellowing or chips will need expert assistance to give good results.